The Dallas Mavericks had a very disappointing 2022-2023 NBA season. They made it to the Western Conference Finals in 2022, and followed up that effort by missing the 2023 NBA Playoffs after falling short of the 2023 NBA Play-In Tournament. With the offseason fully underway in Dallas, the Mavs find themselves with two priorities. The first is re-signing Kyrie Irving, which will most likely be an ongoing saga that is fairly out of their control. More within their power is the second priority being the No. 1o pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. While there are many directions they could go with the No. 10 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, there is one player in particular that is a perfect fit: UCF forward Taylor Hendricks. One of the best freshman in the country in 2022-2023, he would come in at 19-years-old and fill multiple needs within the Mavs system.
Out of every team in the NBA last season, the Mavs were dead last in rebounding. At 38.8 rebounds per game, the Brooklyn Nets were almost two whole rebounds above them as the second worst unit across the association. What made their rebounding struggles even worse was the fact that Luka Doncic was their top guy in the category; Doncic is a great rebounder, but no team wants their point guard grabbing the most rebounds on the roster. While their bigs struggled to corral boards, they didn't do themselves any favors in the scoring department either. The Mavs traded for Christian Wood to be their primary scorer down low, and he underwhelmed with an average 16.6 points per game. However, Wood can at least speak for himself with some pride, as the next highest scoring big was Dwight Powell at 6.7 points per game. For the Mavs to want to return to the Western Conference Finals, they are going to need a more versatile big man to help out Luka Doncic, and hopefully for them, Kyrie Irving. This is what makes Taylor Hendricks such a perfect fit at the No. 10 overall selection in the 2023 NBA Draft.
While there are plenty of reasons Hendricks should be targeted by the Mavs, there are three in particular that stand out. Here are those three reasons Taylor Hendricks is the Mavs ideal selection at No. 10 overall in the 2023 NBA Draft.
*Mavs Stats via ESPN
*Taylor Hendricks stats via UCF
3. Scoring Ability
As a freshman at UCF last season, Hendricks showed a veteran skillset in creating his own shot. He led the Knights in scoring at 15.1 points per game, leading the team in field goal percentage along the way at 47.8%; these shots weren't just coming from near the rim either, as he also led the team in 3-point percentage at 39.4% on 155 attempts from long range. He scored double-digit points in 28 of the Knights' 34 games and had 21 games of 15 or more points. Not to mention, he reached a career-high 25 points twice over the course of the season. It is clear that Hendricks has an affinity for scoring the ball, exactly what the Mavs need down low.
The Mavs had no problem scoring last season, although that was entirely due to Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. Hendricks would completely change the dynamic of their offense, as the floor spacing would increase and an ability to rely on positive possessions with the ball outside of Doncic's and Irving's hands would increase tenfold. Aside from his current ability, he is entering the NBA at just 19-years-old; the likelihood of his bag developing at a rapid rate over the next decade is pretty much guaranteed given how skilled he already is. If the Mavs want to rely on anybody other than their guards for scoring next season, they will nab Taylor Hendricks with the No. 10 pick in the NBA Draft.
2. Rebounding Ability
As mentioned, the Mavs were absolutely atrocious rebounding the ball in the 2022-2023 NBA season. Again, this is exactly where Hendricks can come into play. The UCF forward has a very young frame at 6'9, 210. He will have to put on plenty of muscle to be able to battle with the grown men around the rim in the NBA. However, he already possesses a natural ability to be in the right place at the right time and uses his length to grab rebounds at an impressive rate. Just like scoring, he led the Knights in rebounding last season with 7.o per game.
He was a double-double machine for UCF with five last season and bumped up his rebounding average to 8.5 per game in the NIT. The Mavs need someone who can come in with a desire to rebound, and Hendricks is just that. It is even better that he has a long ways to go in developing his body; they can count on rebounding right away while understanding he will only improve as he grows stronger and more confident around the rim. With the Mavs desperate for someone to come in and take the pressure off of Luka Doncic on the glass, Taylor Hendricks presents as the perfect opportunity in this draft.
1. Energy player
One of the biggest criticisms of the Mavs last season was their seeming disinterest in the game. They struggled all season defensively and on the glass because those are the two most effort intensive aspects of the game. Scoring the ball was no problem for the Mavs, but when it came to outworking the other team on defense and securing loose balls, they never came out on top. They need to draft a player who will come in with a desire to be the hardest working player on the floor not only at all times, but at as many times as possible. Luckily for the Mavs, selecting Hendricks in the NBA Draft would give them the upside of this type of player that comes with the added benefit of having an elite skillset.
Only two players started all 34 of UCF's games last season, and Hendricks was one of them. Thus, his durability is already proven, and it wasn't just the fact he started every game, but that he played them to the fullest. Hendricks finished the season having played 1,179 minutes, equaling the second-most in program history. To be 19-years-old and this willing to take advantage of the energy of his youth, the Mavs would be simply wrong to not take a chance on him. With the No. 10 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, the Mavs need to pick Taylor Hendricks.